Soon the last school bell of the year will ring and all that will be on your child’s mind will be vacations, playing with friends and, well, much of nothing. It’s summer! But don’t pack away your child’s pencils just yet because a long break from learning might just set them back in September.
“There’s a phenomenon called summer slump where some kids struggle and even slip a little in reading comprehension or math facts because they haven’t practiced them,” said Betsy Fanning, Head of School at Trident Academy in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. “Whether or not your child has a learning issue, it’s a good rule of thumb to have them read and practice math over the summer.”
Reading Programs and Summer Homework
To give your child a positive head start for school, first, make sure they complete any summer work that the schools sent home with them in May. “Just make sure they don’t do it all as soon as they get home for summer break or wait until they have one week left before they get back,” said Fanning. “It defeats the purpose. The best scenario is to have them do a little every day.”
To prevent any battles over completing summer work, Fanning said it’s important to set up guidelines with your child before the last day of school. “Find what works for your family, but maybe set up a time after breakfast or lunch when they must do their schoolwork and then they can play,” she said. “Have a treat at the end of the week for them, like going to the lazy river, if they get all of their work done. But if they don’t do the work, you can’t take them to the lazy river.”
Fanning suggests checking out local libraries for reading programs. “These are programs where the children read a certain number of books to get prizes,” she said. “It’s an incentive for them to read that's free and easy.”
To improve their math skills, parents can buy math workbooks and use websites so kids can practice. “One of the better ones is Khan Academy, which is a free math-related website,” said Fanning. “It’s good for all kids, but especially for middle schoolers and up because they can hone skills they already have and learn new things for their next grade.”
Sign Up for Summer Programs
Sending your children to camps where they can improve skills and learn new ones can also help to keep them on top of their academics. Trident Academy offers three summer enrichment programs to help keep students on top academically — Reading Foundations, Reading Comprehension and Applied Writing, and Multi-Sensory Math. These programs run from June 10th through July 5th.
“Students are assessed and put in the right class for them,” said Fanning. “We also offer a four-week Executive Functioning Program where kids learn how to multi-task, organize and plan thoughts and ideas all while having fun and playing games. The kids won't even know they're learning something.”
Trident Academy also offers a more intensive one-on-one Orton-Gillingham instruction, Academic Therapy, for children who are struggling to read. “It's a multisensory approach to teaching phonics and basic reading skills,” said Fanning.
Summer is also the perfect time for learning something new. “In the Charleston area there are all kinds of specialty camps — like cooking and robotics camps — where students can go to for a week at a time,” said Fanning. “Just know you should still have them reading and doing math every day.”
Make sure that children get away from the screens over the summer, too. “Don’t let your child sit in front of their electronic device — television, computer, cell phone — all summer long,” she said. “Have them unplug! Kids need to get outside, absorb some vitamin D, run, play, exercise and be free!”
Choosing the right academic programs and activities for your child over the summer will ensure that they do not fall behind on critical math and reading skills and fall victim to summer slump.
For more information about Trident Academy, dial 843-884-7046, or visit https://tridentacademy.com.